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Investigative Interviewing of Children

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Felice Torrisi.

In the vast majority of child maltreatment cases involving allegations of child sexual abuse, the primary and often only evidence is the child’s verbal report. In turn, decisions regarding safeguarding the child and criminal proceedings rely heavily on the quality of information obtained from suspected child victims during investigative interviews. As a result, it is important that interviews with suspected child victims elicit accurate and informative disclosures when abuse has occurred, without raising the risk of eliciting false allegations when abuse did not.

In the wake of highly publicized cases of child sexual abuse during the 1980s, much research has focused on issues surrounding suggestibility and memory. More recently, researchers have begun to examine means to facilitate children’s comfort in forensic interviewing settings. What can we learn from emotional support in forensic interviews? What future avenues of child forensic interviewing should be examined? I will present empirically supported child investigative interviewing procedures and highlight current and future lines of research inquiry. The gold standard of child interviewing protocol, the National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), will be reviewed (e.g., rapport building, substantive phase) along with other recommended child interviewing techniques.

This talk is part of the Darwin College Science Seminars series.

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